A Chinese magnate who has expressed an interest in buying The New York Times said that he is backed by a “Jewish American” financier to the tune of $600 million, Reuters reported on Friday.
Chen Guangbiao, 45, whom Reuters described as an “oddball” recycling magnate who has never acquired a company nor worked in the media industry, said that he has retained a financial services firm to assist him in the takeover bid.
Chen’s stated offer of $1 billion is far below The Times’s current market value of $2.4 billion, and according to Reuters it is highly unlikely that the Ochs-Sulzberger clan which controls the publication would sell to Chen, who is known for his publicity stunts.
Chen further described his Jewish partner, whom he said wished to remain anonymous, as someone who has worked in finance in Hong Kong and speaks fluent Chinese. The financier has previously completed two acquisition deals with U.S. media outlets, Chen said, declining to name them, though he added neither is as big as The Times, Reuters said.
Hurun’s Rich List of China’s super-wealthy estimates that Chen is worth $740 million. He is also known for his substantial philanthropic activism.